Better, You Better, You Betz
senior Mike Betz, a three-year starter in goal for the Buckeyes,
will never forget the final home opener of his college career.
A nationally televised game, he had a prime vantange point for
that night's contest against Notre Dame: on the bench.
One of the
country's most durable netminders – he's made no fewer than
36 starts in each of his previous three seasons at OSU –
the Elizabeth, Pa., native was benched that night in favor of
sophomore Dave Caruso. Coach John Markell and his staff made the
decision based on performances at the Lefty McFadden Classic in
Dayton the previous weekend, where Caruso made 30 saves in a 5-3
win against Miami while Betz stopped 24 shots in a 5-2 loss to
to the coaches and they explained to me why I wasn't starting,"
Betz said. "I respected their decision to go with Dave. To
be quite honest with you, I don't think I was prepared...and ready
to battle and do what makes me best, which is play with intensity.
I'd get my chance again. I just wanted to make the best of it
when I got back in there."
sketch of Betz making the best of it: He started the second game
of the Notre Dame series, turning aside 30 shots in a 3-1 Buckeye
victory. Last weekend, he made 47 saves on 48 shots as OSU claimed
5-0 and 4-1 decisions from host Michigan State, the first time
in school history the team left East Lansing with a pair of wins.
(eraser) board in the locker room, someone wrote, "Times
OSU has swept Michigan State" and there was a big zero underneath,"
said Betz, INCH's
reigning National Player of the Week. "I think all the
guys took it upon themselves and said, 'We can do this...we can
come up here and make Ohio State history.' We knew we were going
to get their best shot on Saturday night, and I think our consistent,
relentless commitment to the systems really enabled us to [sweep]."
loss of talented forwards R.J. Umberger and Ryan Kesler to the
professional ranks – Umberger and the Vancouver Canucks,
the team that owns his rights, have yet to reach a contract agreement
– Betz contends that, more than any time in his OSU career,
the Buckeyes' focus this season is on the team concept. He attributes
his stellar play over the last three games to his mates "committing
to little things" such back-checking and remaining focused
on the offensive and defensive systems.
a completely different atmosphere in the locker room, at the rink,
at practice, during games...from the coaching staff on to the
captains and down to (the rest of) the players," Betz explains.
"Everybody is taking accountability for their actions, and
we know that maybe we don't have as much talent as we did last
year or the year before. But we feel we have a lot more character,
a lot more grit and we can definitely go to the top of the league."
SEEN AND HEARD IN THE CCHA
Lattery Will Get You Somewhere – In this space
last week, it was reported that Western Michigan forward Dana
Lattery would likely miss the Broncos' series against Nebraska-Omaha
because of a wrist injury. Unfortunately, we failed to heed one
of the sport's cardinal rules: never underestimate the guile of
a hockey player.
to the college hockey world at large, the Broncos' senior captain
had been skating in practice the entire week.
supposed to play," Lattery said. "I'm still not supposed
in the lineup last weekend and showed no ill effects of the wonky
wrist. He scored a pair of goals in Western Michigan's 5-1 triumph
over the visiting Mavericks Friday. The following night, the Cochrane,
Alberta, native notched another goal and added an assist as the
teams battled to a 2-2 draw. He was named CCHA Offensive Player
of the Week for his efforts.
doctor said 4-to-6 weeks but I got a cast for it," Lattery
explained, "so I decided to see what I could do and see if
I could take hits. It didn't feel too bad. Throughout the week,
the coaches said to take it day-by-day and see how it feels Thursday.
Thursday, it didn't feel too bad. I felt that I could play."
Now that he's
put the injury behind him for the time being, Lattery can focus
on leading the Broncos in the team's quest for continued success.
Western Michigan, off to a 2-1-1 start, can put to rest questions
of legitimacy – or at the very least muffle them –
by beating Michigan State at Munn Ice Arena Friday. The Broncos
have been a tough out at home, but road success has been the team's
back to the (season-opening) Ferris State weekend where we got
beat on the road," Lattery said. "I thought we could've
beat Ferris State in both games. We want to...put it behind us.
It's a big game for more reasons than one, and hopefully we'll
get the road worries out of the way this Friday night."
that once the team proves it can steal points away from home,
it can tackle another elusive goal –- achieving postseason
success. It's been 10 years since the Broncos have advanced past
the first round of the CCHA Tournament.
senior class, we've felt that every year we've done well but there's
that sense of fulfillment that we've never had," Lattery
said. "We feel that this year is our year to make something
happen. We've had our moments, but at the end of the year we're
left with a sense of emptiness.
"That's something we're going to definitely try to get rid
of this year...and this is the team to do it."
Jordan Rules – Friday's
contest against Notre Dame began like most any other game for
Bowling Green junior goaltender Jordan Sigalet. He stopped all
12 shots the host team fired in the first period. A fair amount
of shots, yes, but nothing abnormal.
Over the next
two periods, the pucks flew at Bowling Green net faster than flaming
furniture after a West Virginia football victory. Sigalet made
22 saves in the second period, which ended in a 3-all tie, and
turned aside 22 more shots in the final frame as the Falcons headed
east on the Indiana Toll Road with a 5-3 victory in tow, the team's
first win of the young season.
was the proud owner of a new school record. His 56 saves topped
the previous best set in 1974, when Al Sarachman made 55 stops
against Michigan State.
pretty intense," said Sigalet of his herculean effort. "It
keeps you in the game. I kind of like it in a way, when you're
that, on a night when a goaltender faces 59 shots, there must
have been some persistent defensive breakdowns. Not so, explains
teammates] did a great job of letting me see (the puck) and clearing
rebounds," Sigalet said. "But even when I couldn't see
it, it was still just one of those nights where I could track
the puck really well, even though traffic.
doing anything just to fight to see that puck, and guys were doing
anything to let me see it."
the Falcons were beaten by Notre Dame, 3-0, at BGSU Ice Arena
the following night despite outshooting the Fighting Irish by
a 40-17 margin. Sigalet says it's just the sign of a young team
trying to mature.
Notre Dame but couldn't get any goals on the board and lost,"Sigalet
said. "There were so many signs of good things in that game
and every game. There's just a couple little breakdowns every
game at the start of periods or ends of periods. Once we get consistent
for 60 minutes, that's when we're going to turn the corner and
surprise a lot of people."
come as a surprise, however, is future stand-out efforts from
Late Lake Show – Don't scoff at Lake Superior State's
tie and win against Atlantic Hockey foe Canisius last weekend.
For the Lakers – a team that's been down so long, Cincinnati
Bengals fans call to offer support – any series that doesn't
include a loss is a plus. Especially heartening to coach Frank
Anzalone is the manner in which his charges earned its mythical
freshman forward Dominic Osman – is he a little bit country
or a little bit rock-and-roll? – salvaged a 1-1 tie for
the Lakers by scoring his first collegiate goal with 31 seconds
left in regulation and goaltender Matt Violin pulled in favor
of an extra attacker. In the series finale, LSSU sent the game
into overtime when freshman forward Trent Campbell scored with
44 seconds left in the third period and Violin on the bench, and
earned the win on sophomore forward Steve McJannet's goal 3:27
into the extra session.
been up by four or five goals on Friday, but their goalie played
great and we rush everything," Anzalone said, referring to
his young team's tendency to not let the play develop. "We
were able to maintain composure, where a year ago we wouldn't
have done that. We deserved it. We did deserve (to win)."
would be quick to point out that the Lakers' opponent last weekend
wasn't exactly a college hockey powerhouse. Irrelevant, says Anzalone,
whose teams have won a total of 14 games in the last two seasons.
matter who we were playing. We're still susceptible to things
going wrong. But we're better now," Anzalone said.
How much better
remains to be seen. The Lakers get a litmus test this weekend
as they welcome Miami to Sault Ste. Marie. Anzalone is particularly
concerned about the RedHawks' top power play unit, which he says
is one of the nation's best. Lake Superior State's performance
this weekend may shed light on whether the team can achieve its
goal of escaping the CCHA basement and competing for eighth or
ninth place in the league standings.
I think we've
made huge strides," Anzalone said. "There are some qualities
here that could become intangibles come January. We can play a
Great Weekend Getaway
at Michigan (Fri.-Sun.): Goals
will not be at a premium this weekend in Ann Arbor. The
Wildcats and Wolverines have scored a combined 36 goals
so far this year. Of course, they've also allowed a combined
32 goals. So the ensuing result should be scoring aplenty.
The Friday-Sunday affair features two dynamic freshmen in
NMU's Darin Olver and T.J. Hensick of Michigan.
you're there: If you're stuck in Ann Arbor with nothing
to do Saturday, you could try to obtain a ticket for that
afternoon's Purdue-Michigan football game. Warning: if you
weigh more than 160 pounds, you'll be uncomfortable trying
to wedge your person into the Big House's 14-inch seats.
forwards Brandon Kaleniecki and Jeff Tambellini
provided 82.5 percent of the Wolverines' offense against
Quinnipiac last weekend. Kaleniecki netted four goals, including
the deciding tally, in Friday's 5-4 win over the Bobcats.
The following night, Tambellini picked up a hat trick in
leading the home team to a 3-2 triumph.
One night after Sigalet's record performance, Notre
Dame goaltender David Brown made 40 saves en route
to a his first career shutout, a 3-0 victory at Bowling
Miami Redhawks, who hung
a snowman on Michigan – yeah, that Michigan
– Oct. 10 were shut out by Air Force – yeah, that
Air Force – at the Frontier Classic in Anchorage Saturday.
you seen the CCHA's non-league record?
The conference's 12 teams have posted a combined 8-11-2
mark against non-league foes so far this season, a 42.9
percent winning percentage. Throw out games against teams
from Atlantic Hockey, and that mark drops to 4-11-1 (28.1
percent). To borrow a phrase from Chevy Chase's character
in Caddyshack, you...you're not good.
AT THE BOTTOM OF THE BAG
With the economy being what it is, it's always nice to get some
extra bang for your buck. Count ticketholders to last
weekend's Michigan Tech-Northern Michigan home-and-home series
among those earning extra value.
Marquette, forward Andrew Contois scored in overtime to give the
host Wildcats a 4-3 win over the Huskies. The following night
in Houghton, forward Colin Murphy scored four goals, including
the overtime winner, as Tech rallied from a 6-3 deficit by scoring
three goals in the last 2:05 of the third period to send the game
into the extra session.
weekend, sure, but coaches, such as Northern Michigan's Walt Kyle,
aren't likely to relish thrilling finishes, especially when they
something you don't want to happen, to give up three goals in
the final three minutes," Kyle told the Marquette Mining
Journal following Saturday's loss. "We need to get that
group of sophomore defensemen to step on the ice and take charge
and settle things down. When that happens, we're going to become
a pretty good team."
the charge against profane chants at Yost Ice Arena: Red Berenson.
bench boss, accompanied by his five-year-old grandson, implored
Wolverine fans prior to Friday's game against Quinnipiac to curtail
the use of profanity, especially one cheer served up when an opponent
takes a penalty that sounds like an excerpt from a Warren Sapp
it will go away," Berenson told the Michigan Daily.
"I think the message is there, and I think there's a lot
more people obviously that are offended by it."
in question was more subdued Friday and met with boos from some
fans. On Saturday, however it was business as usual in Yost.
kids here are having fun, and they're trying to support the team,"
Berenson said. "But they know they're not going to get away
with it. We're not going to tolerate it."
be celebrating in Sault Ste. Marie Friday night. We're not predicting
a Lake Superior State victory over Miami that
night – although the Lakers come into the series with better
mojo than the RedHawks.
1973-74 LSSU icers – who won the NAIA championship that
season – are being inducted into the school's athletics
hall of fame this weekend. Whether the entire team will be there
remains to be seen, but we're pretty sure the coach won't be able
to attend. Rick Comley, now at Michigan State, is busy with a
home-and-home series against Western Michigan.
no question marks. No blurry images. Photos of the new Bowling
Green home and road sweaters are finally available for
everyone to see.
The home jerseys
are, in fact, predominately orange and feature the school's Falcon
logo on the front. The road jerseys are white with the school
name emblazoned across the front. Of course, you could just look
at the pictures posted on the school's Web site.
representatives of Michigan State's alumni fund
were smart, they would've been in Edmonton and Nashville Saturday.
When the Oilers hosted Colorado at Skyreach Centre that night,
five former Spartans were on hand – Edmonton forwards Shawn
Horcoff and Mike York, Oilers' assistant coach Craig Simpson,
Avalanche forward Jim Cummins and Colorado rookie defenseman John-Michael
Liles. Meanwhile, there were four ex-MSU skaters at Gaylord Entertainment
Center the same evening. The Predators boasted forwards Adam Hall,
Rem Murray and defenseman Andrew Hutchinson, who was summoned
from Milwaukee of the American Hockey League that day. On the
opposing bench was Columbus assistant coach Newell Brown, who
not only played at State but also served as an assistant under